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Armenia : Edward Nalbandian delivered lecture at the Italian Society for International Organization (SIOI).

On June 7, while paying a working visit to Rome, Edward Nalbandian, Foreign Minister of Armenia, visited the Italian Society for International Organization operating under the supervision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy. There Edward Nalbandian delivered a comprehensive lecture on Armenias foreign policy attended by fellows of the research center, diplomats accredited in Rome, experts and journalists.

Before the lecture Edward Nalbandian met with Franco Frattini, President of the Italian Society for International Organization and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy. The sides discussed steps being undertaken towards the development of the Armenian-Italian relations, as well as urgent regional and international issues.

In his remarks Minister Nalbandian noted: I would like to thank the Italian Society for International Organization and its president - good old friend Franco Frattini, for organizing this meeting. I value very much the opportunities of exchanges within the academic circles and expert communities, which give the possibilities not only for presenting our thoughts and views, but also to listen and comprehend. Therefore, I will start with a short introduction and then will encourage a Q&A session, in a more interactive manner.

The modern day cordial bonds between Armenia and Italy have deep historical roots that go all the way back to the Roman Empire and have especially strengthened after first Armenia and then Rome adopted Christianity as a state religion. Last year His Holiness Pope Francis visited Armenia in his words as a pilgrim to the first among the Nations to receive the Gospel of Jesus.

Armenian Italian ties flourished in the Middle Ages during active political and economic interactions between Cilician Armenian Kingdom and Genoa, Venice and Pisa. As an echo of those centuries-old close ties the title King of Armenia was held till the modern times by the Italian House of Savoy. Armenian Congregation of Mekhitarists, established in 1717 on the island of San Lazzaro in Venice, has long been regarded as one of the Armenian cultural centers. The first ever Armenian published book was printed in Italy in 1512. There are a lot of historic facts testifying to the close ties between our nations. I just mentioned few to give an overall idea. In modern times too, many Armenians have been well known and played prominent roles in the Italian society.

The Armenian Italian relations gained new momentum after the independence of Armenia. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries. During the past quarter of a century we have managed to forge strong partnership in wide array of fields ranging from the high level political dialogue to the economic cooperation, partnership in cultural, academic and many other fields. We have also formed pretty comprehensive legal framework which comprises three dozen legal documents.

Armenia and Italy are jointly investing their efforts for the peace and security in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, as well as in the Resolute support mission in Afghanistan. As nations with rich cultural and historical heritage we successfully cooperate in the field of preservation of historical and cultural heritage.

Armenia is very much interested in further strengthening and deepening its ties with Italy. I am in Rome for first meeting of the Armenian-Italian Intergovernmental Commission. Last year during the visit to Armenia of His Excellency Paolo Gentiloni, in his capacity as the Foreign Minister we together agreed on the establishment of this important format to boost our economic relations. It was followed by the business forum. In the course of this visit I also had a bilateral meeting with my colleague, Minister Alfano, Secretary for Relations with States of Holy See Gallagher, as well as members of the Italian Parliament.

The cooperation between Armenia and Italy goes beyond the bilateral framework and encompasses also the multilateral track, most notably the Eastern Partnership and European Neighborhood Policies of the European Union. We are looking forward to sign this fall at the EU Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement between Armenia and the European Union, which defines the framework for active political dialogue, cooperation in many areas, dynamic trade and economic relations, expanded sectoral cooperation. Once it is signed, Armenia as a member of the Eurasian Economic Union that encompasses 180 million strong market can further contribute as a bridge in utilizing the available opportunities, providing its services and investment tools and as a platform for trade activities between EAEU and EU member states, particularly, Italy.

We are also looking forward to Italys upcoming Chairmanship in one of the most important regional Organizations the OSCE, which we believe should continue to play a vital role in the current turbulent international affairs.

Ladies and Gentlemen, It is well known that geography shapes political identity. Armenias neighborhood - the South Caucasus, is situated between Russia in the North, Turkey and Iran in the West and Southeast respectively and the Middle East further South. For those who follow the international politics only this vague reference is enough to understand the whole complexity of the regional environment.

Armenia enjoys allied relations with Russia, good-neighborly relations with neighboring Georgia and Iran and has no relations with Turkey. If you wish so, I will come back to our ties with these neighbors during the Q&A. Here, I would like to concentrate more on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the prospects of its resolution, which are hampered by Azerbaijan.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Jun 10, 2017
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